Saturday, October 11, 2014

Inheritance: Maiden, Mother, Crone

Last night I attended a special burlesque show put on by Sinner Saint Burlesque, a local group and one of the more accessible and prolific. Their mission is "to celebrate the human experience through smart, sexy entertainment." I've been to several of their shows and they never fail to delight and to occasionally confuse. But their pieces are always unique and interesting.



This one, called "Inheritance: Maiden, Mother, Crone," is hosted by Theatre Off Jackson and "blends burlesque, modern dance, narrative and feminist performance art with activism, intergenerational dialogue, beloved community, and sensory spectacle to explore both ancient and modern stories about what it means to embrace, celebrate and integrate the feminine."

Certain moments of the performance made me uncomfortable because they were so artsy, so very THEATRE, yet didn't feel sincere or well thought out; they were just a little too touchy-feely. And pretty much anything by Jesse Belle-Jones leaves me cold (she makes me wonder if she really takes herself that seriously). But most of the first act wowed me; it was both amusing and poignant. I especially enjoyed "Promise Ring" by Lady Tatas, which skewered the weirdly sexual and infantalizing cultural relationship between a daughter-bride and her father. (It was set to "Butterfly Kisses," which could not have been more perfect.) I also thrilled to Nikola Tease-la's "Sex Education" piece, especially the hilarious clitoris dance. And Evilyn Sin Claire's "Oocyte Ritual," which I took to be about the performer's experience as an egg donor, resonated deeply with me.

Overall, it was an enjoyable and worthwhile experience, and one that I highly recommend, especially for those who want to get in touch with and celebrate the experience of being a woman.

Also, just an FYI, nearby Sun Bakery has really satisfying, cheap custard buns.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Seattle time warp photos

You've probably seen these already, but I had to share because they're so cool: stitched together photos of Seattle's past and present, by Clayton Kauzlaric.






Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Egg donor cycle #3

I recently finished my third egg donor cycle, in a clinic totally new to me. I missed my old clinic, but this one had really nice-looking magazines, I guess?

I will say that I was not the biggest fan of the doctor who performed my ultrasounds. He would put his gloved fingers on my labia and spread them as he warned me that I would feel some pressure and goo from the ultrasound wand. I was a "pelvic model" once (fancy term for "medical student gynecological guinea pig"), so I know that you aren't supposed to stampede toward the labia/vagina - it's nicer to put the back of your hand on the inner thigh to prepare the patient. I was worried the first time that he was going to try to apply lube with his fingers, which would have been incredibly inappropriate, but happily he stopped at merely disagreeable. I don't think that this doctor meant to be creepy, though, and I'm sure that had I said something, he would have adjusted his methods. He was pleasant otherwise, and the rest of the staff was very sweet.

After my egg retrieval surgery, my doctor said that I was "like a little hen" - apparently they had taken forty-eight - FORTY-EIGHT!? - eggs from me. My previous record was twenty-seven! For the week after my surgery, I understood what other egg donors were talking about when they said that the cycle had been hard on their body. Although I didn't experience pain, I was grossly bloated and uncomfortable. I walked around like a lead balloon.

But now I'm back to my "normal" self and ready to tackle another cycle in January. I'm also ready to tackle my taxes. I got a letter from the IRS demanding back taxes on my "self-employment," even though being an egg donor isn't really considered employment (I'm not selling my eggs, I'm being reimbursed for my time, pain and suffering), and even though I'd already paid about $1000 to them in 2012. The moral of the story is: I'm getting a professional to help me with my taxes this upcoming spring.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Grad school begins!

I started grad school on September 24th, and already I'm about to start my third week! Crazy. But time flies when you only have two classes (and 100+ pages and 2+ assignments) scheduled each week.

First day! I look so ready.


On the morning of my first class in four years, I had a meltdown. I picked a fight with Tyler about dogs for no good reason, and then I sobbed openly for ten minutes (he could only stay for three of those minutes because he had to catch a bus, and I don't fault him for that).

Then I got ready. I wore the most "grad school" outfit I could cobble together in my frazzled state of mind: black pants, black cardigan, chambray button-up shirt, and loafers. I wrangled my hair into a half-back and tried to make it look less frizzy. Then I sat around for several hours because my class wasn't until four o'clock. I got nervous and antsy and went to campus an hour early so I could sit outside my classroom.

My classmates appeared to be equally as terrified, and we exchanged nervous whispers before the PowerPoint got fired up. But then, everything was fine, as you might have guessed. I stuttered a lot, like Porky Pig-level stuttering. That was pretty terrible. But the next day, I didn't stutter, and I made the class laugh, and I felt smart.

For my second week, I had one online class, and did my first peer counseling session the next day. We're in triads (although I'm an odd student out so I rotate a lot), which means that we each assume the role of client, observer, and counselor during class time. I made an excellent client, if I do say so myself. (It helped that I had already gone to hypnotherapy* earlier that day, and knew what I wanted to talk about.) And I actually was a pretty decent first time counselor. I did a lot of dumb stuff, of course - I didn't pay attention to the time and went over the 10 minutes I was allotted, and I tried for too much, too soon as a result, thinking that I needed to fill the time. But I felt surprisingly comfortable and I liked it! That's really exciting for me. (Now I have to watch my recorded session and I feel like it's going to make me cringe. But I can only get better, right? Unless I get much, much worse.)

Afterward, I rewarded myself with one delicious lavender cupcake... and five more cupcakes for later. Oops.

*Hypnotherapy! I told my mother one day that I wished I could just be hypnotized into loving exercise, and the next thing I knew, I had a Groupon to Amour de Soi. Hypnotherapy is not actually hypnosis, as it turns out, but I did feel deeply meditative and safe. I liked that I got to keep my eyes closed, especially since we did an exercise that involved my hands talking to each other about my feelings re: fitness. Surprisingly, I came to some interesting and useful conclusions through the hand-talk exercise. For example, I mentioned that I liked pole dancing class because I could employ "public solitude," and feel that whatever my body was doing, it was the right thing for me in that moment; I realized as I spoke that I could transfer that nonjudgmental way of moving and being present in and appreciative of my body in different spaces, even during boxing class. Anyway, I would recommend hypnotherapy if typical therapy isn't your thing, and I would definitely recommend Amour de Soi specifically.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Stitch Fix #11

See Stitch Fix #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9, #10
Would you like to try Stitch Fix? Sure you would! (Thank you for the Fix credit!)
Check out my style inspiration board.

My last fix was all the way back in June! I was feeling hopeful about this one because it's FALL and it's so much easier to find and wear cute things when the weather turns crispy. So here's the message from my stylist, Melissa:

Hi Inness, I really enjoyed styling for you today! I had so much fun looking through your Pinterest inspiration board and your amazing blog with your past Stitch Fix reviews! I'm really sad your last Fix was a disappointment and I hope we can turn this experience around for you. I wasn't sure if you wanted to try more boyfriend jeans this time, so I opted for an amazing high waisted work paint. The Emer pants create a smooth and flat silhouette and they will look great with the Jenny striped top and black flats for a polished & professional look for the office. I noticed several hot pink items on your inspiration board, so I thought you would love the Breyson top. The Marina polka dot dress is a flirty and feminine fit and flare style that is super flattering. Pair it with boots and a denim jacket this Fall! Enjoy!

I like Melissa! It's clear that she's paying attention: looked at my board, read my blog, knows I prefer high waisted pants, and noticed that I love hot pink! I was excited when I opened my box - it looked very promising.

1. 41Hawthorn "Berneen" printed dolman sleeve top, $58



When I first put this top on, I was excited. I'm really into printed tops right now, and there's nothing like this already in my closet. But the more I looked at it, the less pleased I was. I'm getting the feeling that although I love dolman tops, they might not love me so much. And this shirt, despite being almost $60, felt like a $10 polyester top from TJ Maxx. I could buy six TJ Maxx tops for the price!

Verdict: returned.

2. Margaret M "Emer" high waisted cropped trouser, $98


I got excited when I saw the words "high waisted" and "cropped" in the same line. And while they lived up to their descriptors, these pants certainly did not live up to their price. They were a little large on me, so maybe that was the problem, but they weren't flattering and certainly not "slimming" as the tag proclaimed (except in the same way that all black pants are "slimming"). They also felt cheap.

Verdict: returned. 

3. Yumi "Marina" polka dot belted dress, $114


I really wanted to like this dress. It was navy blue, with an interesting nubby fabric, and an exposed metal zipper, which I love. Fit and flare is my favorite style of dress and this dress delivered on that front. It was mostly flattering, except that the waist hit above my natural waist (I don't have THAT short of a torso!). The belt was a cheap, flimsy thing. I thought about keeping it, but ultimately decided it wasn't worth $114.

Verdict: returned.

4. Market and Spruce "Breyson" split-neck tab-sleeve knit top, $48



It's hard to see in these pictures, but this shirt really was a vibrant shade of hot pink. I loved it! I also loved how soft it was and that it had tab sleeves. But there the love ended. The material was thin and highlighted some not great stuff, yet at the same time, it felt really heavy and huge. All in all, I felt like I was wearing a maternity top.

Verdict: returned.

5. Tart "Jenny" scoop neck striped knit top, $68



I don't know if Stitch Fix knows this, but I like this brand, so kudos to Melissa for choosing it. I thought about keeping this top, too, but ultimately decided it just wasn't flattering enough. The stripe patterns were interesting and it was soft, but it was really low cut and flared away from my hips in a not-great way.

Verdict: returned.

I feel bad for disappointing Melissa, since I sent everything back again! I actually would like to have her as my stylist again - I feel like having so many stylists bouncing around hasn't facilitated a good box for me in a while, and I think she kind of got what I'm going for at least. Oh well! Next time.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Science is sexy

I haven't posted in a while, so here, a comic I enjoy:

Source: Hark, a vagrant, by Kate Beaton!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A letter from my 18-year-old self

I got a letter in the mail the other day. It was from me, eight years earlier, my senior year of high school (it was originally meant to get sent when I was 23, rather than 26, but I'm almost happier that it arrived later). It came with a prompt:

CONGRATULATIONS!! You are about to conclude 13 years of schooling. For most of you, this is the first major milestone you are overcoming in your pursuit of an education; for ALL of you, this is the beginning of a new life, a new road on which you are starting to walk, and a new perspective on the world and your place in it.

Write yourself a letter reflecting on your education for the past thirteen years, on what you have accomplished in your life and education up to now, and which details your hopes, dreams, and goals for your future education and plans. What is some advice that you have learned in the past 13 years that you would like to be reminded of? How do you think that your education thus far has prepared you for the future? Why do you want to continue learning? How do you think you will affect the world? What are some goals you have for yourself? Reminisce, review, and reflect on yourself and your life as it stands now. Write a letter that will draw you back to this time but that will also push you forward to the future ... YOUR future!

This is what I wrote to myself:

Dear me,

First of all, I wonder if my handwriting will have evolved by the time I am twenty-three.* In all my years of education, I have been decidedly undecided regarding the way I want to form my letters. At present I seem to have settled on a mishmash of cursive-print.

Anyway...the past twelve..or thirteen..or fourteen years of school seem like a finger snap to me now. And the most random things stand out, especially from elementary school. Middle school is mostly a blot, but some memories are pleasant. And high school...was better than I ever imagined it could be. I have friends, and status, great teachers, good grades...it's actually been fun. I sort of wonder how college could ever prepare [sic, I think I meant compare] - I'm sure it will be quite the culture shock. But also, an adventure. A glorious adventure.

I hope I'm ready. I don't feel particularly brilliant, but I suppose I can hold my own. I have a foundation of love, support, strength, wisdom, faith**, and quirky memory. I have a family that could not be more of a blessing. My loved ones assure me that I'm ready. I am almost ready to believe them.

Even if it turns out I'm NOT, what a wonderful opportunity college is. What freedom, what joy to live for myself, by myself. And, in my curiosity and love for learning, I eagerly anticipate that my brain, which is currently [image of a small brain surrounded by question marks] will be stretched and provoked into [image of a much larger brain surrounded by exclamation points]. Or at least, that is what I hope will happen. Who knows what awaits me? I have no set goals, I only want to learn, and keep learning, soaking in all I can (except completely unnecessary Calculus), amazingly never reaching my saturation point (except during final exam week).

And keep myself. I know I'll change, it's unavoidable. But let it be for good. Let me continue to pursue what I love, drawing, writing, reading, singing. Do not give me a spirit of timidity - help me to be BRAVE, and joyful, faithful** and smart.

But, although I hope to keep doing what brings me pleasure (harmless, innocent sorts!***), don't keep me in my box. I want to taste all I can. I want to become a connoisseur of life. I want to become REALLY GOOD at something, not just pretty good at a handful of things.**** I want to find my medium, my place, my purpose. I don't know what I want to be (commercial airline pilot? masseuse? bee keeper? mortician? lounge singer?), but I want to love what I become.

I may never make a dent in the world, but that's okay. Maybe I'll make little differences. I'll cultivate my own life.

The most important thing I have learned so far, besides having a healthy curiosity, a positive mindset, and a sense of humor, is simply this:

Love.

Phileo or agape - it's important.
Keep it.
Initiate love with wild abandon.
Nourish it.
Trust.
Never fear to love.
Encourage it.

Never give up on love. There is so much love to be found, and so much to give.

Whatever specific relationships I keep, or release, find again, lose, rejoice in, am devoted to...

Love endures.

I have been so lucky to have a family that daily teaches me the value of love.

So lucky to have a Lord who loves me enough to forgive me (forgiveness is important too), who saved me.**

And all my wonderful friends - lost, forgotten, strong, weak, wonderful, wonderful. Remember them, remember to make the effort.

So. There isn't much more I can say, except to recap:

1) Keep an open mind.
2) Keep an open heart.
3) Take it to the limit.
4) Embrace life.
5) Never stop learning.
6) Love, love, love.

This is going to be an amazing life.
All the best of luck!

Love,

me.
(yourself)
(at 18)

I alternately cringe and smile fondly at my youthful, idiot self. I'm so desperately sincere! So naive! And I write like I'm trying to impress a teacher (probably because I guessed that my teacher would read my letter - not sure if she did..but it's a pretty safe bet).
But wait, there's more! Evidently I finished my letter and still had time to burn, so there's another sheet of impromptu thoughts, and they are a little less...effortful:

Oh!
By the way...
Today is a Thursday!

I recently got a Costco card.

I live in Bellevue (at Lala's again!) and Issaquah (<3 i="">

I went to Alex's prom last Saturday - it had fondue fountain. Mmmmm...
Prom #2 (TBCS [my high school]), on a boat, is this Saturday.
I am in love with Alex, and I am going to marry him.*****

The Voltaire at Dilettante cannot be forgotten. Nor can Seattle in all its glory - and Rocky Horror nights.

I went to Districts [for Varsity Golf] yesterday and shot a 121. (I love golf.) Don't forget - 25% hips, shift weight from right to left, head down, chin up, trust the driver, it is magnificent.

My locker is the snazziest.

Celery is amazing.

Go with God!**

And dissect as many critters as possible.******

Bubble Tea is amazing.

There you have it. A glimpse inside the mind of a nerdy teenager. It's funny - in some ways, I am still exactly the same person. I'm still not as cool or charming as I think I am, or maybe I'm cooler and more charming than I know (that would be nice). But I think I would make my 18-year-old self happy. I have retained my core personality, but with the improvements that come with years and experience and some serious heartbreak. I would also infuriate my 18-year-old self, because I would mock her - lovingly, but incessantly.



*My handwriting is still EXACTLY THE SAME, almost eerily so.
**I thought I was a Christian, but it turned out that I was still an agnostic, just momentarily brainwashed by the private school I attended.
***Hahahahahaha!
****Still working on this. I realized the other day that I'm mostly mediocre at everything I do. This does not keep me from feeling like a cool chick most days, for some reason. Delusions of grandeur, probably.
*****Thank GAWD I did not. In fact, as of this month, all three of my great former loves are now married, and not to me, and I'm sincerely happy about that.
******I was really into science, biology in particular. We'd just dissected fetal pigs in class and I thought it was so cool. But this sentence is still really creepy.
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